As I close the chapter on another academic year and after presiding over my 13th Convocation ceremony and the completion of our MSW and PHD student’s transitions to new professional roles, I am ready to communicate my own transition. As I announced at the Faculty Organization meeting earlier this week, the time has come to step back from this vitally important and fulfilling leadership role. I have been proud to serve as your Dean during these years spending every day working to make the School an ever better place of excellence in learning, research and community outreach.
I have informed UMB President Jay Perman of my intentions to transition out of my role as Dean of the University of Maryland School of Social Work at the end of the 2019-2020 academic year.
I will return to the faculty where I hope to bring renewed consistency and impact to my very intermittent work as a children’s services scholar.
I am proud to have been part of the many accomplishments we have achieved together during these years. The School of Social Work is an incredible family of people and programs committed to making Baltimore, Maryland, and the world a better place. Your dedication and passion helped make my role much easier and far more exciting. Your collective efforts have resulted in extraordinary advances in the SSW.
I know that I will have time to savor these changes and enjoy reviewing them, after my deanship truly ends but wanted to touch on a few. Our school has grown our research grants, scholarships, faculty and staff, space quality and amount, and community outreach. We continued many signature programs (like Family Connections, Title IVE, the Family Welfare Research and Training Group, and SWCOS) and added significant new programs (especially Promise Heights, the Institute for Innovation and Implementation, and the Substance Use Disorder Intervention Fellowship program), we have strengthened the PhD program and added a Post-doctoral program, we have revamped and expanded our training, research, and stipend support in behavioral health. We have added two chaired professorships and have two more in the pipeline. We were central to the development of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare. We help to host the Grand Challenges for Social Work and have been very active in end homelessness, stop family violence, and build financial capability for all. We strengthened the Board of Advisors and re-created the Alumni Association.
We helped to create the Social Work Deans and Directors of Development meeting which now has an annual meeting and regional convenings to help us all expand our capacity. We created a Diversity and Anti-Oppression Committee as part of our Faculty Plan of Organization and a Staff Council. We have the most diverse faculty, student body, and administration in our School’s history. We have recruited and supported terrific tenure track, clinical, and research faculty. We have accepted and fulfilled leadership roles in new UMBwide centers on clinical and translational research and addiction research and education. Yet we have much to do before we fully embody our highest goals and values.
Since I began my social work career as a MSW student in 1977, I have dedicated myself and my work to understanding how to deliver effective interventions that reduce suffering. As it was when I began here, and for all the distinguished deans who came before me here, a new set of challenges and opportunities now stand before the School and the social work profession. I am proud of the position I leave the School in as it continues to move forward to improve life within and outside of the SSW. I will do everything I can to advance that position in the months ahead. I look forward to working with all of you in the remainder of my term and in my future role as a professor of social work.
I thank all of you who I have worked with and who have been the engines behind the School’s success and ask understanding from those who I have not engaged in ways that were as genuine and helpful as each of you deserve. I wish I had done better. I will endeavor to complete the remaining years of my career, here, by being of great service to the success of the School.
With warmest regards,
Richard P. Barth, PhD, MSW